“Through KORA, for almost 30 years we have had the opportunity to explore the interaction of genes and environment in the development of diabetes, lung and cardiovascular diseases, and allergies. Since individual lifestyles, environmental conditions, and medical care are constantly changing, it is important to examine the KORA participants at regular intervals in the Study Center in order to find effective approaches to prevention,” said Prof. Dr. Annette Peters, director of the Institute of Epidemiology II at Helmholtz Zentrum München, which organizes the study and operates the KORA Study Center in Augsburg. In her opening speech, Peters praised the high motivation of the staff and participants – some of whom have been involved in the study for decades – and the very good cooperation with the different partners in the region.
Dr. Alfons Enhsen, managing director for the scientific-technological infrastructure at Helmholtz Zentrum München, expressed his delight and underscored in his address the international recognition of the study with a comparison: “In times in which the city is so excited because the FC Augsburg is competing internationally for the first time in the UEFA Europa league, we can sympathize with this feeling because KORA, too, has for years been competing internationally at the highest level!” The data that are collected within the framework of KORA are important for the epidemiological research of the DZD. Through this data, risk factors for diabetes can be determined – an essential prerequisite for the targeted prevention of diabetes.
Open House Day is well received
The second part of the event gave interested individuals the opportunity to take a look at the new premises of the Study Center. At various stations the visitors could take the DIfE – GERMAN DIABETES RISK TEST®, have their blood pressure measured, or take lung function tests or have their blood glucose level measured to check their general health status. A slide show designed for this day outlined the history of the study and provided insights into the press coverage until now.
KORA, which stands for "Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg", is a research platform that is used nationwide and internationally. Scientists use the huge pool of patient data in KORA to study various questions about environmentally-related diseases under epidemiological, genetic and health economic aspects. The inhabitants of the Augsburg region volunteer to participate in the study. In the past almost 30 years, around 18,000 individuals have been examined and interviewed at five-year intervals in order to identify risk factors such as environmental pollution and lifestyle as well as genetic factors. The focus of KORA is on cardiovascular diseases; but in the meantime further diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, allergies, cancer, and other chronic diseases have been added. In particular, genetic research has benefited greatly from the KORA data. At the same time a myocardial infarction registry was set up, which includes all deaths caused by myocardial infarction and non-fatal heart attacks in 25- to 75-year-olds. Numerous other studies and examinations were added. The result is an extensive database of blood samples and a unique collection of findings and medical histories. Scientists of the Institute of Epidemiology and the Institute of Health Care Economics and Health Care Management at Helmholtz Zentrum München are responsible for the infrastructure, conception, organization and execution of the studies.